Machete is a specialty knife cum multipurpose tool mimicking the slim design of a cleaver, ideally used for survival in the bush. An elongated blade between 12” to 18” with a thickness of about 0.12” is the signature feature of machetes. The word machete owes its origin to the Spanish word “Macho” meaning strong. It also has a Caribbean-English term called ”matchet” which literally translates as cutlass or sword.
This mighty tool accomplishes various general tasks like chopping woods, and vines, clearing tough bushes, cutting underbrush, grass gathering firewood, field-dressing games and many similar rudimentary cutting jobs. Another popular use of machete is splitting coconut shells and sugarcane. The ability to provide extra force and impact on the target has made it an invincible self-defence provision among the indigenous tribal community around the world. Here’s an interesting trivia: did you know that machetes acted as the main weapon of the peasant guerillas during the battle of Havana?
Now, if you’re inclined to purchasing a machete and getting confused after seeing so many different types of options available, this in-depth guide will help you pick the best machete for your specific purposes.
Reviews of the Best Machetes 2019
1. KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri
This stylish, muscular Kukri is a largely applied model by the Nepalese army and travelling Gurkha mountaineers of Nepal. This is primarily an army-issued weapon, used as an excellent multitasking devise which allows desirable precison, heavy force and accuracy while performing crude chopping and cutting jobs. The inner curvature of the blade gives fine control over the actions. The 11.5” blade is composed of carbon steel. The ergonomic handle is made from finest quality Kragon-G thermoplastic elastomer. Plus, the full tang design effectively safeguards your palm from potential nicks and cuts.
2. KA-BAR Cutlass Machete
KA-Bar’s stamp on any knife automatically raises it to a status of an extraordinary knife. With KA-BAR Cutlass Machete, the noted manufacturing firm once again sets the market on fire. This cutlass style machete is carved out of a hefty 1085 carbon steel and holds a 20 degree edge angle. The ergonomically sound superior, on-slip Kraton G thermoplastic elastomer handgrip allows tight grip and good control over the machete. The handle features a hollow grind. The product comes nicely packed in a Condura combination sheath which is easy to hang on your belt. Cutlass blades can be dealt with effortlessly while clearing campsite and splitting woods.
3. Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete
This a one-of-a-kind parang machete manufactured by prominent military and pocket knife making company Gerber. Bear Grylls, our very own living legend cum iconic survivalist cum sinfully famous television personality used this machete in one of the episodes of Man v/s Wild. Overwhelmed by the unprecedented success of the T.V show, Gerber decided to launch a product line bearing the lineage of Bear Grylls and classic design of Gerber. Composed from a high carbon stainless steel, it reserves the toughness of carbon and rust-resistance property of steel. The 9.3 inches long wide angle blade is ideal for working with tufts of branches, bushes, limbs and vines. The textured rubber grip is decent. Overall, a product worth all your attention if you’re a fan of the man with a tiger’s heart.
4. Cold Steel Jungle Machete
Cold Steel has been in this business since 1980 and has been acclaimed by experts for producing some of the finest knives in the world. Cold Steel Jungle Machete wears a meaty and rigid look. The 22” overall length of the knife has raised many eyebrows over the years. The good thing is, the adamant weight has never hampered the functionality of the machete. The blade, 16” in length, is sculpted from a super-tough 1055 carbon steel. The blade reserves a very strong temper, a great weight-forward balance and is nearly unbreakable.
5. Condor Golok Machete
The Golok is the flagship product of Condor. The enticing design of the machete, empowered by a 1075 high carbon steel with epoxy black powder finish, is terrific for sprucing up unmanageable bushes in the dense forest, cutting undergrowth, saplings and gathering firewood. The curved hardwood handle is the icing on the cake. The rigid back of the blade won’t get stuck in the green wood while cutting. It also offers a durable leather sheath for easy portability. Cut to the safety element, Condor Golok includes replaceable soft pads to prevent injuries.
Different Types of Machetes
The Kukri, also pronounced as Khukri, is a Nepalese knife, easily identifiable from its quirky inwardly bent edge. Because of the massive strength and versatility, it has been solemnly engineered as the characteristic weapon of the national army of Nepal and the Royal Gurkha Rifles. The blade of a Kukri combines 3 layers-a pointed tip for piercing and stabbing, a wide midsection for chopping works and a narrow section adjacent to the handle suitable for carving and whetting.
Commonly referred to as Bush machete in the Western hemisphere, Latin is extensively used in farms and yards for green vegetation. Lookwise, it’s nothing distinguished from an ordinary fixed blade knife. It is composed of a straightback blade, has a stout feature and even weight. This is perhaps the most common type of machetes available in the market.
Panga is a type of the machetes originating in Eastern and Southern Africa. A heavy-duty blade broadened at the backside of the knife is the chief characteristic of this African variant of Machete. Lengthwise, it measures around 16”-18” on an average. In some cases, the upper inclined portion may be sharpened for piercing animal skin. The deep belly of panga induces solid load-taking capacity and adds a nice curvature to the knife to facilitate convenient chopping and slicing.
This variant of machetes is a crude modification of Bowie knives native to the United States. Bowies has served as survival machetes from ages. This big, meaty utility survival knife features a clip-point tip for skinning animals in the wild. Trained survivalists never forget to keep Bowies handy when out for an adventure trip, expedition in a dense forest or camping. Large Bowie act as a perfect alternative to axe, it’s pretty useful for backwoodsmen who’re looking for a more portable option for chopping woods than traditional tools.
Bolo, resembling the structure of a Panga superficially, devises an innovative blade that bulges near the tip for highly impactful chopping. Bolos are a Filipino variant of machete, it is used in almost every house of this country as a harvesting tool. General applications include slashing bushes, cutting and splitting woods, clearing yard and slicing large and narrow edible items. The Bolo is often used for martial arts training at the grass-root level in Philippines.
Parang draws its design mainly from Panga and Bolo. With a shorter yet thicker blade with a primary grind to prevent the blade from getting lodged in the wood, these kind of machetes, commonly found in Malaysia and Indonesia, excels at woody vegetation, chopping unbrush etc.
Golok, a modification of Parang, is a traditional agricultural tool in Southeast Asia. The short-length of Golok adds to the portability as well as excellence of the knife for green vegetation, chopping thick bushes, saplings and branches. The blade used in Golok machetes tends to have more thickness than ordinary blades which enables it to handle optimum load during chopping of the woods.
Things to Look For While Choosing the Best Machete
For survivalists and outdoor life lovers, a machete is an essential item in the arsenal. Right from acting as a multipurpose EDC tool in the wild to a powerful security precaution against sudden attacks, machete is an all-in-one package. While shopping for a suitable model for you, you must focus on some particular factors to make a worthy investment.
The blade composition of machetes is precisely what differentiates them from other specialty knives. No doubt you need to be pretty careful while selecting the right blade material. The two most common materials used for machete blades are stainless steel and carbon steel. While stainless steels can combat rust, it lacks the toughness. Carbon steel is robust, edge-retentive, and sturdy enough for agricultural works but can’t withstand corrosion. In recent times, a hybrid of both materials called carbon stainless steel blends the advantage of both.
The average length of a machete mostly tosses between 10”-28”, while the average length is 18”. The longer the blade, the more force it provides but it hinders the portability. Shorter blades are relatively easy to carry around but isn’t as functional as its longer alternatives. It’s for you to decide what aspect you got to prioritize depending on the intended application of the knife.
Micarta is regarded as the best material for building machete handles. While it’s a little high on pocket, it provides an impeccable grip and comfort. Being made from the layers of heat-treated canvas, fiberglass, linen, plastic and paper, it’s solid and can effectively stand the abuse during strenuous field-work. Wooden handles also allow firm grip but is prone to cracking. Plastic is crack-proof but turns slippery in wet-palm.
Tang plays a pivotal role to ensure maximum user’s safety while operating the knife. Tang is the part that connects the blade and handle together. Full tang blades are considerably safe to use as the tang is extended upto the handle and stays locked in that position. It also improves the strength and precision of the machete.
In a Nutshell
For the adventure-seeking fellas, a tough, versatile multipurpose tool like machete is unhesitatingly a must. This article intends to be more than just a guide for the dummies. There’s a lot that goes into handpicking tools for an outdoor-venture. There are endless things to know about an EDC equipment like knife. We have all been acquainted with machetes at some point of our lives, but how many of us imagined it could have so many variants? Now that you have been enlightened by these machete reviews about the various aspects of machetes, your shopping for the best one should become slightly less confusing.